Congratulations on making it into the money of your single table tournament!  Now that you have made it into the cash, the objective is to win.  Top prize is typically equivalent to one-half of the buy-ins, which is more than a lion’s share of the prize pool.  Second place for a SNG typically pays out 30%, while third place awards 20% of the prize money.  It clearly makes sense that first place is the place to be.  Moreover, while 10% is a decent sum of money, there is little difference between third and second prize, as compared to the jump in money between second and first.  For this reason, one should adapt a strategy that supports playing to win.

What to Expect Beyond the Bubble of an SNG

When the bubble bursts, short stacks will look to double through without fear of losing.  The short stack is already assured prize money, thus the fear of missing a payday has been eliminated.  Moreover, standards tend to relax from players across the board, as they too have reached the prize pool.  In the stages beyond the bubble, the blinds typically apply pressure to short and deep stacks alike.  Generally, the chip count places one person above average, while the remaining two players are below average.  Neither the deep stack nor the short stack are generally able to hold off on a superior starting hand during the post-bubble stages of a SNG.

How to Play After the Bubble of an SNG

Because standards drop for the quality of starting hands due to the pressures of the blinds and guaranteed paydays, a player is well served playing hands designed to dominate their opposition.  Short stack players should continue moving all-in when first to act with hands valued about ten-eight offsuit and above, as well as any pocket pair.

Moreover, the big stack should stand willing to call a short-stack’s all-in with marginal holdings when playing out of the blinds.  The deep stack should constantly apply pressure to the table, raising from the button, as well as the big and small blinds whenever in possession of a hand deemed playable.

If you find yourself medium stacked, you will be best served attempting first to isolate the short stack when possible.  However, playing at the big stack in an attempt to get him to back down will serve you well.  When suspecting the deep stack is bullying you, as he will often do from the button as well as from the blinds when heads up – a suitable tactic for counterattacking him is to reraise him before the flop.  Often moving over the top so that you are all-in will serve to knock him off his steal attempt.  Additionally, moving all-in before the flop will relinquish you from any tough post-flop decisions.  In fact, all the tough decision-making will be placed upon the deeper stacked player’s shoulders.

When playing beyond the bubble in a single table tournament, do not fear finishing in third place.  The bump in prize money from third to second is small, when compared to that of second to first.  Implementing an overall tactic geared towards winning the SNG is of importance to one’s long-term win rate when playing single table tournaments.